Art by LusoSkav
|Breed:||13/16 Canaan Dog / ⅛ Irish Wolfhound / 1/16 Old English Mastiff|
|Languages spoken:||English, Yiddish, Hebrew|
|Age at joining:||24|
As Jan Doornenbal is not Drake Whitesmith's first bassist—that would be Bruce Kellion—neither is Micah Cragg his first guitarist (that's Jim Dexter). These facts would be long forgotten by all but ardent fans except for one thing: Iron Zion and Yom Kippur Holocaust will not. Stop. Fighting.
Micah grew up in a highly musical family. His grandfather Eleazar Cragg led in the group The Craggs & The Mastiffsons, his father was a woodwind repair technician, and his mother a pianist. Micah himself was taught early on to play a Sarrusophone (a double-reeded instrument that was based off the saxophone).
When Eleazar caught Micah trying to play Eleazar's guitar, he bought the then-seven-year-old a child-sized guitar and arranged for lessons; he also promised if Micah kept up with practicing, he would get Eleazar's guitar as his very own.
Micah was okay on the sarrusophone, but much preferred the guitar. He learned classical guitar at first, but quickly fell in love with heavy metal as well.
One day, while looking for kosher salt (his regular grocery store no longer stocked it), he entered one that had the Star of David on the sign. As he entered, a yellow-coloured dog greeted him in a strange language, to which Micah replied with a blank stare, then said
The dog, who he soon learned was Drake, apologized for assuming Micah spoke Judaeo-Spanish. Micah merely grinned and returned a greeting in Yiddish, then said he was Ashkenazi, not Sephardic.
Though the meeting hadn't gone smoothly, the two got to know each other better and soon became friends.
One day, Micah was asked if he'd like to join Drake's heavy metal band; Micah eagerly accepted—and immediately regretted it as soon as he clapped eyes on Bruce Kellion, who instantly made a snide remark about Micah's menorah pendant.
Things got even worse when they started practicing in Micah's home, as Bruce never kept his mouth shut about his opinion of
kikes. Eleazar's advice merely worsened the tensions, and Micah was ready to tell Drake that either Bruce went or Micah did, when Drake brought up the question of what to call the band. Bruce responded,
Hey, old kike, how about Micah never saw his grandfather's face, he simply grabbed Bruce by the scruff and hauled him outside, making sure to bash Bruce headfirst into doorframes they passed through. When they got to the front door, Micah gutpunched him, told Bruce that the day he returned would be his last, and bodily pitched him out of the house.
Yom Kippur Holocaust?
When he returned, he assured his grandfather that Bruce would not be welcome back in the house, and asked Drake if he knew any other bassists. Drake said he had another guy on his mind, but didn't know if he'd be interested.
Micah took an instant liking to the big, quiet Jan Doornenbal, who thought it might be interesting to be in a heavy metal band. Bouke would take some getting used to, as he took delight in acting manic and strange.
Drake had a liking for Viking Metal, but it really wasn't to Micah's liking. When Drake recorded a demo to show a friend, he admitted that Eleazar was right, and they began playing metal covers of Jewish folk music. Before long, Eleazar was invited to join the band, and Micah also brought his clarinetist girlfriend Sarai in.
The years in the small clubs would mould their sound further as the band got used to each other. Both Micah and Drake were champing at the bit to record when they learned that Bruce had created a band called
Yom Kippur Holocaust and had started recording, but Eleazar was adamant that they weren't ready.
Micah was particularly disappointed when their first album flopped, but his grandfather comforted him, saying that one album didn't need to define their career.
They began touring in Ontario and into New England, building up a following in the Great Lakes area. But during this time, tensions arose between Micah and Bouke, whose antics often involved Sarai. Micah started positioning himself on stage so he stood between the two and Jan, being no fool, suggested the Bouke and Micah have a sitdown. Bouke claimed to have no idea that it looked like he was hitting on Sarai, but agreed to tone things down, though he did continue to engage in duets (and duels) with her.
Their second album Sacred Geometry sold quite a bit better, and Micah insisted they started touring more. It was a suggestion he would later regret.
Long-distance touring was a shock to everyone save Eleazar, who'd been on the road with The Craggs & The Mastiffson. The band had to get used to some very dreary rat-holes, and the inability to afford two rooms caused some complications with Sarai.
By the time their first tour was over, Micah and Drake were barely talking to each other, Eleazar was feeling particularly old, and even Bouke had given up on his antics. Micah admitted he wished they hadn't done it, but Eleazar reprimanded him for such foolishness—long tours were to be expected if they were to become a successful band.
I've done cross-country tours before. They are hard, but they are needed. And you will come to get used to them in time, he promised.
Micah soon grew used to the long roads, late nights, and the sheer work associated with being in a touring band.
One night, a concert-goer offered him a marijuana joint, which Micah accepted. When he came back, Eleazar promptly confronted him about using drugs.
What makes you think I'm on anything? demanded Micah.
I was a session musician back in the day! In the 1960s, it was hippies, in the 1970s, it was psychedelic rock, and the 1980s were the 1980s. shot back Eleazar.
I know what people on drugs look like!
Micah then confessed that Eleazar would know the signs.
Besides, you stink to high heaven, declared the elder.
Micah confessed he'd had a puff because the stress of touring was getting to him, and his relationships with both Sarai and Drake were suffering.
The band took a break from touring, focusing on songwriting and recording their third album Legends Of Jacob.
Micah also took some time to rejuvinate his faith and his relationship with Sarai. Shortly after Legends Of Jacob was released, he would marry Sarai.
Micah nearly quit Iron Zion after Eleazar died, but eventually stayed. As he later put it,
We kept going because we needed each other. The album Requiem, which was their most religious album (not only based on Jewish religious music, but even Catholic masses), provided much-needed catharsis for the grieving band.
|Languages spoken:||English, Yiddish|
|Instrument||Clarinet (Amati B♭ Soprano, Albert System), Sarrusophone (Conn EE♭ Contrabass)|
|Age at joining:||21|
Sarai Goldberg was never a big fan of rock and roll,
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